Compare the style and sentiment expressed in "Cider with Rosie" and "Silas Marner"

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Laurie Lee wrote Cider with Rosie in 1959. As it is an autobiography, it was written in the period it happened, this being 1917 to the late 1920s. It was set in Slad, as this is where he was bought up. This is the more modern of the two books.

Silas Marner on the other hand, was written at a much earlier time. It was published in 1861; the middle of the Victorian period, but the story takes place between 1795 and 1825. This book was set at an earlier date than it was written like Cider with Rosie, but for a different reason.

The events in Silas Marner could not have happened at the time when the book was actually written. For example, when Silas Marner is wrongly accused of theft, his innocence is decided by the drawing of lots.

“The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilty”. If the book had been set at a more recent date when it was evident that the practice was no longer used, for example in George Eliot’s lifetime, there would be an anachronism.

Therefore it was necessary for George Eliot to have set this book at an earlier date than it was written.

Cider with Rosie is an autobiography and is therefore written in the first person about something that really happened, although ‘some facts maybe distorted by time’. His life is told in a fragmentary way. For example, there is a chapter purely about his mother, and then one on what he remembers about winter and summer.

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After that, he recalls an incident when he was taken ill and writes a chapter called ‘Sick Boy’. There is no real continuation or solid story line. It is written in episodes and so you get an overall outlook on what his life was like.

In contrast, Silas Marner is a novel written in the third person and is fictional. The story of Silas Marner unfolds chronologically. There is a definite story line, which gives the book direction. We learn less about the main character’s background and past and there are more characters playing substantial roles with deeper, more detailed characters.

Cider with Rosie is based around a young boy called Laurie Lee. He is bought up in Slad, a country village, and this is his home unlike Silas, who was forced to move to a village which is not his home at first. He lives in a big family, although the father does not live at home, and is very much accepted as part of the community. This book vividly describes events that happened during Laurie Lee’s childhood. Cider with Rosie doesn’t have a climax or any ironies. There isn’t a main climax as the story is so fragmented. There are however, climaxes evident in individual sections of the book. For example, in the chapter ‘Sick Boy’ the climax is when the Negress thinks that Laurie is dead and prepares him for the coffin. His mother has none of it and goes mad when she finds out from Dorothy. She goes to revive him.

“Poor boy, he’s gone,” crooned the Negress. “Gone fled to the angels-thought I’d wash him for the box-just didn’t want to bother you, mum”. On the contrariety, Silas Marner is about a middle-aged weaver, Silas, who is wrongly accused of a robbery. He is suspended from the church and forced to leave his fianc�e and Lantern Yard. He goes to live a new life in a village called Raveloe where for many years he is thought of as an outcast. He no longer has trust in his religion and so doesn’t go to the church.

“There is no God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent.” As a way of dealing with his loneliness, he hoards his money and shuts himself off from the community. His money is stolen and he becomes miserable. He becomes a father through an act of kindness and his child brings him back in touch with the community. The story comes to a climax when Dunstan’s body is found in the drained pit along with Silas’ stolen money. Godfrey then decides to tell Nancy about Eppie and goes to try and persuade Eppie to live with them. It is ironic when Eppie refuses to live with them and says she sees Silas as her real father, because when it is possible for Godfrey to have Eppie, he disowned her, as he valued his relationship with Nancy more. However, when he couldn’t have a child, he desperately wanted one.

Cider with Rosie shows how children are so na�ve and get upset about the silliest of things but aren’t really bothered about things that really matter. When reading this book, it is evident that Laurie Lee writes about his life with real passion. He successfully communicates with the reader as we are able to relate to the child’s views and it triggers off memories we also have of being a young child.

Silas Marner is a fable and so contains many morals. The main point that George Eliot makes during this novel is that love is more important than money. George Eliot has the talent to make us have strong feelings and views towards each character’s actions. It has that essential feeling of community and friendship which is seen as the main ingredient to happiness. This is particularly promoted in Dolly’s character. She is a very warm and lively person and through time, even though she knows nothing about her faith, draws Silas back to religion.

“It’s niver too late to turn over a new leaf; and if you’ve niver had no church, there’s no telling the good it’ll do you.” She often gives Silas help in looking after Eppie.”You might shut her up once i the coal-hole… there’s one of ’em you must choose-ayther smacking or the coal-hole-else she’ll get so masterful there’ll be no holding her”.

Dolly is such a simple but vital character. I feel her character is fully established although some may argue that she is a caricature. Eppie is more of a caricature than a character. She is part of the ‘fairy tale’ within the novel and represents a feeling of happiness. She grows up through an ‘ideal’ childhood and has a perfect personality.

In Cider with Rosie, although other personalities are incorporated into the story, we don’t really learn enough about their lives and they don’t influence Laurie enough to really be classified as fully established characters. For example, Miss Flynn would be classed as a caricature as she is there to represent a free spirit. She is very unpredictable (she commits suicide for example) and does what she wants and lives life how she wants. She is very supernatural and is not too bothered what other people think of her.

“I’ve been bad, Mrs. Er-for the things I must do. It’s my mother again, you know. I’ve been trying to keep her sick spirit from me. She don’t let me alone at night.” This is in keeping with the main theme of the book, freedom. In Cider with Rosie I found that regular events were often elaborated and padded out to make the story interesting. This is successful, as Laurie Lee is very good at descriptions.

“It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight. It was knife-edged, dark, and a wicked green, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys”. This quote shows Laurie Lee’s descriptive writing skills and how he has managed to make a normal situation, in this case standing in a field, come alive and attractive to read. It also adds to the whole feeling of romance and naivety.

George Eliot also has her way of making the story interesting. She is not quite so descriptive in her writing but instead the plot keeps you interested. The way in which she has inter-woven many different story lines but then in the end she has brought them all to the same conclusion, is very clever. For example, the story line of Silas and the loss of his gold is linked with the story line of Dunstan’s money problems. This is as Godfrey has a secret wife and child who are only known about by Dunstan who is therefore blackmailing Godfrey into giving him money. He ends up giving Dunstan his horse of which dies, forcing Dunstan to steal Silas’ gold. The story of Godfrey’s secret wife and child is linked back with Silas as he ends up bringing up the child, Eppie as his own when the mother, Molly, dies. All of the plots come to a conclusion when Dunstan’s body is found with Silas’ stolen money. Godfrey decides to tell Nancy about Eppie and goes to try and persuade her to live with him. Eppie refuses saying that she sees Silas as her real father. Silas remains happy, and Godfrey remains childless.

Themes are evident in both books but more so in Silas Marner. In Silas Marner the main themes are money, faith and justice and injustice. Money is the most evident and important theme in the book. Silas was forced to live in Raveloe because money was stolen in Lantern Yard. Then, when he reaches Raveloe, he hoards his money made from weaving. Dunstan and Godfrey are always arguing about money, which leads to the theft of Silas’ gold. When Eppie appears in his house, he thinks her hair is his gold. Eppie then acts as a replacement of his gold but in a human form. This is what makes the theme of money so important. The fact that the main point made in the book is that love is more important than money.

Faith in God and others is also an important part of this book. Silas looses his faith in God and human beings when he was falsely accused. For many years in Raveloe he shuts himself off from the community because of this. After the arrival of Eppie, and the encouragement of Dolly, Silas is slowly drawn back to religion and he regains his trust in the human race.

There are themes of injustice and justice running through Silas Marner. For example, there is injustice when Silas is falsely accused of stealing the gold and William Dane is not caught. Also, when Silas has his gold stolen. (This does however, help him in the long run). There is justice when the man who stole Silas’ money, Dunstan, dies and his brother’s daughter ends up being Silas’ daughter.

In Cider with Rosie the main themes are freedom, happiness and youth. Money is not so significant in Cider with Rosie. Although the family is poor, they have always lived on the basis that they will be happy as long as they have people around them that they love. (The lesson taught in Silas Marner). There is a theme of faith in Cider with Rosie like in Silas Marner, but it is not very powerful. The sense of freedom is very evident in Cider with Rosie, which is mainly as the book is written in the eyes of a child.

The themes of happiness and youth are the strongest in the book. Laurie is loved very much and lives an almost trouble-free childhood, as the majority of us do. That is what makes the books so appealing-the innocence of it all.

Just like in Silas Marner when Silas is forced to leave Lantern Yard, there is injustice in Cider with Rosie. This is when a man who had returned from the war entered the local bar “richly dressed” and bought everyone drinks. On his return home, he was violently beaten up and robbed. He froze to death in the snow. The criminals were never punished for the crime.

The language used in Silas Marner is far denser than in Cider with Rosie. The language in Cider with Rosie is very descriptive. By doing a comparison of the opening paragraphs in each book, I can get an idea of the style in which the books are written.

To begin with, the two opening paragraphs were a completely different length. There are about 340 words in the opening paragraph of Silas Marner, whereas there are only 28 words in the opening paragraph to Cider with Rosie. This shows how Cider with Rosie is more concise and to the point than Silas Marner. It makes you want to read on as it makes you curious by giving you clues as to what will happen next. For example, the opening sentence is as follows.

“I was sat down from the carrier’s cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began”. This style of writing is continued throughout Cider with Rosie.

Silas Marner has far more elongated passages and consists of far more complex ideas. The language used is very dense and takes more concentration to understand. This is the opening sentence of Silas Marner. “In the days when the spinning-wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses-and even great ladies, clothed in silk and thread-lace, had their toy spinning-wheels of polished oak-there might be seen in districts far away among the lanes, or deep in the bosom of the hills, certain pallid undersized men, who by the side of the brawny country-folk looked like the remnants of the disinherited race”.

You can tell the immediate different in the style. This sentence is far longer, uses a lot of punctuation and contains many old fashioned words such as thread-lace, bosom and remnants. The style in which the book is written influences the sentiment in both books. I feel that the style of language in which Silas Marner is written detracts from the warmth that at some points George Eliot is trying to project. This is because the language is so dense it can cause the book to feel a bit cold.

To conclude, Cider with Rosie is a light-hearted book about freedom, youth and happiness. It is very descriptive and every day situations are elaborated in order to make them interesting. Silas Marner contains many complex ideas and story lines. It is a fable and the moral is that love is more important than money. These are both very different books, with different perceptions on life.

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Compare the style and sentiment expressed in "Cider with Rosie" and "Silas Marner". (2017, Oct 28). Retrieved from

Compare the style and sentiment expressed in "Cider with Rosie" and "Silas Marner"
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